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Does anyone know what I can do to make my 1982 Honda cm450c headlights any brighter... Can I replace the light bulbs or do I need a whole new headlamp when it goes out?
A lot of older bikes (as well as cars) had headlights that are borderline by contemporary standards – both in terms of output as well as desperation pattern. As was suggested, about the easiest way to go modern is to get an H4 housing – the actual H4 bulb is around 30+ years old itself, but you don’t need to use the standard bulb if you want more light – there are HID, LED and over-wattage alternatives that fit the H4 reflector housing. You may have to do a bit of very minor surgery to get a modern H4 reflector to fit your housing, but generally they are quite basic and simple of themselves – and the 7” bracketry is about the easiest to use.

I am seriously electrically challenged, but have done the conversion on a late 90s Kawasaki, mid-90s Harley as well as my wife’s earlier model Miata… I won’t say it is a no-brainer, but as bike mods go it is quite straightforward… The over-wattage conventional incandescent H4 is about the easiest installation (you can use the DOT variation too of course), and probably consumes the most power as well (typically 80/100 watt or 55/100 watt to as much as 130 watt), which may be a limiting factor on older bike alternators with limited output… Once the H4 reflector/housing is in place, the HID and LED conversion is electrically usually uncomplicated on older bikes (that don’t have bulb-out warning circuits) – but (BIG “but”) -- not all HID/LED “bulbs” are created equal – and although you may find all sorts of stratospheric lumen quotes, if the light elements aren’t correctly designed to sit in the correct relationship with the H4 housing reflector, you may get a light pattern that is iffy to distracting at best.

You might go to a higher-dollar website like Headlight Revolution and poke about on their videos, then you’ll have an idea what to look for – I have no connection to them, and you don’t have to buy from them anyway, but their light info is sound… The alternative to the H4 housing is to go to one of the Cyclopes style 7” converter kits – all the above caveats apply here too. Note, regardless of installation, strongly suggest you use a relay and draw power directly from your battery (using legacy switches and wiring simply for switching) or a sub-panel for any over-wattage installations…
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